CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Nueces County is the first county in Texas to implement this type of program of this magnitude. Its cite and release program includes seven different misdemeanors The district attorney's office says the numbers from the first 90 days relfect the program's effectiveness.
Overall, 371 citations were issued, which saved the county around $22,500 after program maintenance costs.
"If you look at that trend, (that) means the district attorney's office will save the Nueces County taxpayers $90,000 through the rest of 2019," first assistant district attorney Matt Manning said.
The savings come, according to Manning, because those offenders aren't arrested and taken to jail. That costs the county $81 per day.
Instead, those people are given a citation and report to the Nueces County courthouse to answer for their charges. The range of punishment is the same. The cases are just initiated in a different way.
So far, the DA's office says they're showing up at a 50 percent rate, which is ten percent higher than the state average.
While the office continues to monitor the results, Manning said there wouldn't a good running start without the support of our local law enforcement and county judges.
"We've been very, very pleased by the buy-in. This is not just us. We're the face you see on TV but there are a lot of other entities that are involved, all of whom have come together to create some early success in the program."
The majority of the citations issued under the program were for possession of marijuana and driving with an invalid license. Manning said those numbers may drop because of recent changes in state law. However, he adds citations for other charges including theft and possession of a controlled substance may increase over the next 90 days.
Cite and release cases are heard on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month. People who don't show up get a second notice. If they fail to appear a second time, the prosecutor decides what happens to them.